Review of Singapore Airlines flight Singapore Cape Town in Economy

Airline Singapore Airlines
Flight SQ 480
Class Economy
Seat 55K
Aircraft Boeing 777-200ER
Flight time 11:35
Take-off 19 Jan 11, 01:25
Arrival at 19 Jan 11, 07:00
SQ   #7 out of 67 Airlines A minimum of 10 flight-reports within the past two years is required to appear in the rankings. 660 reviews
By 4328
Published on 30th September 2013
This trip was booked with my Krisflyer miles, costing my about 47K miles for a return economy ticket. Taxes came up to nearly S$400. I and my friend decided to go to Cape Town as it is definitely something different from the European cities and of course, a continent I have not step foot on.

On the day of departure, arrived at Terminal 2 where the check-in hall seemed like a ghost town. It was almost practically empty as there were not many flights departing from T2 late at night. Check-in agents were just talking to each other or looking bored. Check-in was swift as we had performed an online check-in and baggage was sent on the way.

My boarding pass.
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Immigration again was painless and our first stop was to the Greenmarket for a quick meal which luckily, we had as will be explained later.

Starters from buffet
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Tempura Set
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Grilled Mackerel Set
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Exploring T2 after the meal. It was very quiet at 12am at night.
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Silkair A320 and SQ B772 resting for the night.
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Maintenance works going on another Silkair plane.
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19 January 2011
Singapore Airlines
SQ 480
Singapore (SIN) - Cape Town (CPT)
Economy Class

The departure gate, which was at E12, meant a long walk down the finger of the terminal to the last gate. Boarding was just started as we reached the gate. It was very orderly with the ground staff emphasizing that boarding has to be done by row numbers.
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Our plane for the journey.
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Boarding in process. The flight was quite full, with about 220/255 pax load, mainly South Africans returning home after their summer vacation. Luckily our middle seat remained empty.
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At the gate.
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Already on the seats were a pillow and blanket. Pillows were the smaller blue ones and not ones used in the new cabins. However legroom was great as usual on the 772ER planes. And as I had chose row 55 where the cabin starts to curve towards the rear, the window seats get an extra 1-2 inches pitch!
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The seats on the older cabins, though quite hard, are more comfortable than the new economy seats, especially for long-legged guys like me. We are able to stretch our legs under seat in front but we could not do that on the new seats as the seat base is lower, restricting the movement of the legs. You can refer to my previous review of the new seats on SQ's A330 flight which was extremely flawed in design comfort.

After passengers had completed boarding, the same process starts of giving out hot towels and menus. Headsets were distributed after takeoff. We pushed back on time and taxied for takeoff. Flight time was announced to be 11hrs 30min.

Taxi to the runway.
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Crossing the bridge to T3 and Runway 02L.

Takeoff into the night skies!

Climbing. Lights of Singapore in the distance.
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Lets have a look at the seat pocket contents.
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After seatbelt signs were turned off, headsets and amenity kits (which comprises of socks and toothbrush only) were handed out.
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Firstly, cabin crew came round with packets of nuts and drinks on trays. I had an orange juice.
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Lets take a look at the menu and see what is served for supper (if you think that supper would be served).

light bites
Warm masala chicken with potato wrap


Warm double deck tuna sandwich

hot beverages
Coffee - Tea
Rooibos tea

Horrors! Where is the supper that is normally served on long-haul overnight flights?? On similar long-haul flights, SQ would serve a supper after takeoff but to South Africa, SQ won't even serve a proper meal? Shorther flights to Oz or NZ would get much better meals! I guess SQ's notion is that since there are no competition, why bother? Well I guess MH which also serves Cape Town is not much of a competition for SQ, and I am very sure MH would serve better meals.

Our refreshment, masala chicken with potato wrap. One word, PATHETIC. It was the type used to be served on short Penang flights. Not even a chocolate bar on the tray which Ozzie flights would get on their refreshment trays. Even the crew, though they were very nice and friendly, seemed embarrassed serving it. I spoke to one of the crew regarding it and he was also surprised that no supper was served for the long flight.
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2 bites and it was gone. Luckily we had a meal earlier. Other passengers would have to starve for the next 10hrs till breakfast.
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After the meal, I had a visit to the lavatory. The lotions and mouthwash are still there..
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Only toothbrushes and combs. No more shaving kits.
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Paper towels have been replaced with facial towels.
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I settled into a movie and the lights were turned off. Crew did came around with water frequently. A delectable snack was also served mid-flight in the darkness, which was quite forgetable.


Fancy a snack in between your meals?
Simply take your pick from our range of delectable snacks
when our cabin crew comes around during snack service.

Savoury sandwich
Vegetarian sandwich

Roasted peanuts
Granola cereal bar
Ferrero Rocher chocolate bar
Lay's potato chips

After nodding off for a few hours, the sun began to rise.
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Clear blue skies.
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Lights were switched on about 2.5hrs before landing. Crew first came around with hot towels followed by juices. Well, I must say that this set of crew has shown that the service on SQ is till up there among the best, apart from a few younger ones who were quite robotic in their service. Probably it is due to the crew being excited to go to Cape Town (since they only get to go there 3 months each year when there are non-stop flights, the rest are only shuttles from Jo'burg).

Landfall into South Afican, or the Africa continent. My first glance of Africa too!. We were somewhere over Durban.
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Crew serving breakfast.
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Lets have a look at the breakfast menu.


Fruit appetizer

wholesome beginnings
Fried noodles with char siew style roast pork,
vegetables and mushroom


Mushroom omelette with chicken sausage and
hash brown potatoes

from the bakery
Breakfast roll
Butter - Fruit preserve

hot beverages
Coffee - Tea
Rooibos tea

Seems normal right? Lets look at the breakfast tray…
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Something's missing? The tray seemed too empty? Yep, missing are the yoghurt, muffin and tub of water!! Terrible! We passengers to South Africa are not even worthy of a full SQ breakfast! Passengers on regional overnight flights get even better breakfasts than this! And the main courses are so small that I need to have 2 of them (compliments of the crew) to even feel a bit full.

Hard-as-rock roll, butter and jam, green chilli for noodles. Boy, do I miss TG's breakfast croissants.
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Pork char siew noodles. Nice but I could finish it in 3 mouthfuls.
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Mushroom omelette. It was ok.
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Fruits. Slightly more variety this time round.
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Sea of clouds.
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We started our descend about half hour before arrival. Headsets were collected.

Descending into Cape Town with awesome views.
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Spoilers up…
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For this sector, the crew did not rush to prepare the cabin for landing. The cabin crew only requested everyone to be seated and belted up about 15min prior to landing, which was different from the norm when the whole cabin would be in landing mode even before descend started.

Break in the clouds.
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The view during approach and landing was beautiful! Cape town, lion's head and table mountain can be seen in the distance.
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We are lower than table mountain!
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Landing on Rwy19. The morning mist was very thick just before touchdown!

South African Airlink ERJ135
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Russian cargo plane
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We parked beside a MH 744 which had also just arrived before us.
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Our aircraft during disembarkation.
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Air Namibia B732
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Welcome to South Africa!
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Cape Town airport arrival hall.
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See more


Singapore Airlines

Cabin crew8.0

Singapore - SIN


Cape Town - CPT



Overall, the service provided by the crew had been excellent. Apart from the newbies (whom one can easily tell by their robotic interaction), the rest of the crew are warm and friendly. Inflight entertainment is fine, of ocurse not as good as the ex3000 system. However, the food served is a real disaster. Most other airlines can serve much better food on similar length flights (budget airlines like Jetstar and Air Asia serve 2 full meals on their long haul flights even though it is payable). I am disgusted that passengers travelling to South Africa are discriminated against, probably due to low yields? However, being a world-class carrier, SQ should provide similar service wherever you are flying to.



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